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Johan Baner's Papers Given To University

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Papers of Johan G. R. Baner, noted Swedish - American author and folklorist who spent j most of nis life in Ironwood, have been given to the Umversity of Michigan Histoncal Collections by his daughter, Mrs. Burke Taylor of Santa Ana. Caüf. The papers, consisting of correspondence, articles, poems, and scrapbooks, amount to approximately three linear feet of material. They now serve as. a valuable resource for the study of Michigan immigrants, and stand beside such previously established collections as the Norse Civic Association, a Scandinavian fraternal organization, and the papers of Baner's author-daughter, Skulda who achieved populanty in the 40's and 50's. Baner was born in Smoland, Sweden, in 1861. At the age of 22, he immigrated to the. United States where he resided in Ashland, Wis., and Duluth, Minn. It was in Ashland that Baner began publication of "Frihet," the weekly newspaper which was to become the largest Swedish language publication in Mmnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan. So'on he moved on to Ironwood, the site of northern Michigan's iron boom and the home of a large Swedishspeaking community. H e r e Baner continued publication of "Frihet" and began to write his poetic accounts of Scandinavian epics and his tions of Chippewa legends, myths and folklore. The Baner Collection reflects his wide range of literary iriterests and includes a great part of his published and unpublished writings. Until his death in 1938, Baner wrote literally thousands of articles and poems for the nation's Swedish language press. These include many of his epic poems and his translations of Indian myths and legends. As his influence as a publisher and writer spread, he corresponded with an increasing number of important people, including Luther Burbank, Booker T. Washington, Elbert I Hubbard, and Michigan govI ernor and Indian folklonst, I Chase S. Osborn. The Baner collection contains this correspondence and includes, in addition, Baner s scrapbooks with his manuscript articles and poems, and with newspaper clippings re counting Baner's life. Most of this material now awaits an English translation.